John Govia's goal was to have the world's biggest pizza party right in Peoria. While the pandemic prevented the first Peoria Pizza Party Fest from becoming record worthy, it did become a celebration for the food and a reason for struggling local restaurants to come together.
The world record for the biggest pizza party is 1,200. But why was pizza at the center of Govia's thoughts?
"Pizza is like a staple in America," Govia said "Starting ... with the fake square pizza that you got in elementary school. Like everybody loves pizza."
Govia said the party was about getting people off the couch, enjoying the weather while it was still nice and helping out local businesses that struggled since the stay-at-home order in the spring.
The event was hosted in the Junction City parking lot near Cheese Nuts and the Tavern on Prospect, two of four vendors on site. Govia said he ordered from 15 pizzerias and wanted to tip the drivers $20 each.
"Usually if you were to ask a pizza joint if you could have 20 other pizza joints by their business, they would be like heck no," Govia said.
"You may not have seen that before and now it's more like these businesses are banning together to make it through this pandemic and I think it's making our community stronger," Junction City property manager Brittany Duffield said.
Govia said several events on Facebook were posing as his event and scamming ticket-buyers out of money. He wanted everyone to know his operation is legitimate and promotes buying locally.
The party is actually a precursor to his October 4 and 11 event: the Peoria Taco Festival. Pre-ticket sales for the taco festival were so successful, Govia wanted to host the pizza festival. He think that tacos, his favorite food, will bring out a much larger crowd.
"We're thinking it's gonna be the world's biggest taco party."